Proposed tax cuts an attempt to buy votes, says Holly Cairns

Proposed Tax Cuts An Attempt To Buy Votes, Says Holly Cairns
Social Democrats party think-in, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Cillian Sherlock and David Young, PA

A signalled cut to the universal social charge in the upcoming budget “won’t make a significant difference”, Social Democrats’ leader Holly Cairns has said.

Senior Government ministers have indicated that changes to USC are being considered for the October budget.


The USC was introduced in 2010 amid the fallout from the financial crisis.

Speaking at the Social Democrats’ annual think-in ahead of the return of the Dáil, Ms Cairns said a cut in the USC would only “put a few euro of people’s own money back in their pockets”.

“We wouldn’t be cutting the USC at this time and I think it’s more important to be honest with people than promise tax cuts.



“Fine Gael are the boy who cried wolf on this, continuously promising to abolish the USC and all of these things – it’s yet to happen.”

At the Communications Workers Union, Ms Cairns likened a USC cut to buying votes.


“The reality is that people have an aversion to paying tax in Ireland and that’s understandable because what do you get back for it?

“When the waiting lists are so long, when there is threadbare public services.

“Our approach is, unashamedly, to build those public services, and we think that if you’re paying taxes and you see things like genuinely free education, free childcare, all of those things would be the thing that would have an impact.

“And we wouldn’t go around promising cuts like that to try and buy people’s votes because I think the electorate see through it.”


Ms Cairns said the USC is one of the “more progressive taxes” as it increases with the amount of money people earn.

“We would take an entirely different approach to this Government, we wouldn’t be out in advance of a Budget talking about tax cuts, we’d be talking about building public services that actually benefit people who pay their taxes.”

She added: “People are sick and tired of hearing about a tax cut, a tax break.

“What we need is proper public services and that benefits everybody.”


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